Extending your Tier 4 (General) student visa in the UK

If you are switching to a new course of study within the Royal Conservatoire you may need to apply for an extension to your Tier 4 visa.  To make an application under the Tier 4 (General) category within the UK, you must read the UKVI Tier 4 Policy Guidance  It is no longer possible to apply using a paper application form and all applicants must now use UKVI’s online application system. It is important to consider whether you’re able to apply to extend your Tier 4 leave in the UK or whether you’ll need to return home to apply for entry clearance.  If you’re switching from MA Music to MMus you’ll need to return home to apply for entry clearance.  You can email Sarah Ward at international@rcs.ac.uk for further information.  Information is also available via UKCISA  If you meet the rules to allow you to apply for further Tier 4 leave in the UK you can stay in the UK until you get your decision.

You must apply:

  • within 6 months of getting a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)
  • before your current visa expires – but no more than 3 months before the course start date on your CAS


How and when to apply

You apply, pay the fee and submit the form online, and then make an appointment to have your documents scanned at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) of which there is one in Glasgow.

The application will cost £475 if you use the standard service (for a decision within 8 weeks) or £952 if you use the priority service (to get a decision within 5 working days).  To get a same day decision you could opt for the super priority service which costs £1085.  You will also need to pay £19.20  to have your biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) collected unless you opt for the super priority service when the biometrics fee is waived.  You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) at a cost of approximately £300 per year of your course.  The exact amount you’ll pay will depend on the length of your Tier 4 leave.  You can check here.

Before you can submit an online application to extend Tier 4 leave to remain you must be issued with a CAS statement from the International and Student Experience team. You should complete the form below and submit it to international@rcs.ac.uk

Tier 4 CAS Evidence Request Form

Once Sarah Ward has reviewed your form she will issue you with a CAS by email.  There is a maximum time limit on studying with a Tier 4 visa. Before you can be issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), Sarah will check that your application will not take you over the maximum time allowed. For courses at degree level, the cap is five years. However, there are some exceptions to the five-year cap, including those Tier 4 students who are applying to study on or continue a course in music at a Conservatoire.

You should start your application once you have been issued with your CAS but when you get to the Declaration section you should stop. Once you agree to the Declaration, your answers become locked and you will not be able to change them when you attend an appointment with Sarah.  Book an appointment with Sarah Ward when you are ready to submit your application and bring all the required documents with you for her to check.  Please also remember to bring a debit/credit card to pay for the visa application fees and the IHS.  Once you submit and pay the visa application fee online you will be directed to the Sopra Steria website to book an appointment at one of the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) centres to enrol your biometrics and have your documents scanned. Sopra Steria is UKVI’s official commercial partner.    There may be an extra charge for this appointment. There are some free appointments available at 6 core centres, one of which is in Glasgow.

If you are eligible to apply under the differentiation arrangements you will not be required to scan your financial documents or qualifications at the UKVCAS. However, your visa application will be refused if you do not provide them if requested by UKVI, within the given time frame. So, you should still prepare the documents. If you are applying in the UK, you must ensure that you select ‘yes’ when asked if you want to apply under the differentiation arrangements on the online application form.

You will be able to retain your passport and other original documents while your application is under consideration. Please note that you should not leave the UK during this time as that would result in your application being withdrawn.

Documents that will be required for your visa application are as follows.  You do not need to send them into UKVI because if required they will be scanned at the UKVCAS.

  • Passport(s)
  • BRP (if you have one)
  • Police Registration Certificate (if you have one it must be up-to-date)
  • Academic evidence/qualifications
  • Financial evidence for tuition fees and maintenance money – bank statement/sponsor letter (if your official financial sponsor is the Conservatoire and details of this sponsorship has been included in your CAS, you do not need an additional letter)
  • Sponsor letter giving consent to stay in the UK (if you have received sponsorship in the last 12 months)
  • Translations of any documents not in English (must meet UKVI requirements)

You need to pay particular attention to the financial requirements. You will need to prove that you have held the required amount in your bank account for 28 consecutive days. For tuition = the fee for the first year of your new course.  For maintenance, you will be required to show £1015 per month of study to a maximum of 9 months = £9135. See Tier 4 guidance for full details

For further information please see the Tier 4 Policy Guidance or the UKCISA website.

If you would like any help with completing an application for extending your current visa then please contact the International and Student Experience team via international@rcs.ac.uk and Sarah will be happy to assist.


Registered Traveller Scheme

Registered Traveller is a service launched by Border Force to give faster and more convenient entry to the UK.  Students sponsored by the Conservatoire for Tier 4 visas may be eligible if they’re a national from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.  Members benefit from:

  • access to ePassport gates at airports across the country
  • use of the UK / EU queue at specified ports
  • no need to complete a landing card on arrival to the UK
  • no credibility interview with a Border Force officer.

Membership costs £70 and full details of eligibility and availability can be found online.

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